New Surrender was really a disappointing album for Anberlin. The band has admitted it wasn’t there strongest output and fans weren’t super thrilled with the album. Anberlin’s second major label release, Dark Was The Way, Light Is a Place, is a much stronger record then New Surrender.
Dark Was The Way starts off really strong. The opener We Owe This To Ourselves is a strong rock song with a great singable, catchy hook. Impossible, the album’s lead single, is so infectious and memorable that you really can’t help but fall in love with the song. From that moment on the album is a little hit or miss. Take Me (As You Found Me) is very similar to The Unwinding Cable Car (from Cities). The Middle section of the album is not very memorable. Closer, You Belong Here, and Pray Tell are all nice songs but nothing about them is amazing. Art of War has a nice hook and To the Wolves has a great sing-a-long chorus. Down is an acoustic song. It’s fine. The closer, Depraved has great energy and is just a nice anthemic way to end the album.
The album is polished and the songs are well written. You can tell production and the recording budget was more for this album but I don’t know if that’s working in Anberlin’s favor. Their first three records have a nice raw intensity to them that’s missing from this record. While it’s a solid record, I foound myself tuning out at moments. You can put the record on and kind of forget about it after the first two tracks. It’s good, but only a 4 out 5.